Washington State has between 100 and 200 FIRST® Tech Challenge teams each year. Teams are formed in schools, community organizations, and neighborhoods. They can be formed by any interested adult willing to facilitate the team logistics.
Within Washington, many FIRST® Tech Challenge teams are formed through schools, so the first place to look for opportunities to join a team is with your child’s school. Generally, the school-based teams are open only to students attending that institution because interest often exceeds capacity. If your child’s school does not currently have a team, you may want to work with a teacher or administrator there to help form a team within the school.
Other Washington teams are formed through community organizations such as 4-H, YMCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or Boys & Girls Clubs. Generally, this is only one of many activities that the organization facilitates for its members, but if your child is interested in one of these organizations overall, this might be an avenue to pursue in your local area.
The remaining teams in Washington are formed through homeschool groups, religious organizations or neighborhood groups of friends. While these groups are not specifically closed to other students, they do not usually engage in recruiting members.
Since finding an opportunity with an existing team may be difficult, many experienced coaches and parents advise families new to the program to start their own team. The benefits to your child and for those who have an opportunity to participate are well worth the effort. If you need additional resources or encouragement, contact us at FIRST® Washington.
Search for teams near you.
Where can I find more resources for this years challenge?
How do I register my team for FIRST® Tech Challenge?
You begin the two-level registration process with national FIRST® registration. When you complete the short process (around 20 minutes) and pay your registration fee, you will receive:
– An official team number
– Coaches’ Handbook
Fee: $275 per season
Once your team is registered with FIRST® nationally, the coach or team representative must register with FIRST® Washington, your local organization. Washington registration opens in September.
Fee: $925 per season
You can find these steps to register on the Get Started page on this website.
Students must register themselves in the team profile each year, to create a network between all competing members, and to ensure all the necessary paperwork is completed.
Who can coach a FIRST® Tech Challenge team?
Teachers, parents, and technology professionals all make excellent coaches. The coach must be 18 years or older and should have the desire to explore side-by-side with students and have good communication, prioritizing, and multitasking skills. The coach’s role is to facilitate instruction and optimize the learning experience of the team members by allowing independent thought. Direct adult involvement or intervention during the problem-solving process is strongly discouraged.
Coaches handle all the operational details: where and when to meet, organizing help for snacks, team costumes, etc. Coaches do not need technical expertise, but must be willing to acquire some basic knowledge of the program.
How do you join an existing team?
If your school or organization has a FIRST® Tech Challenge team, approach the coach and see if there is room for another student and if the deadline has passed.
If your child’s school or organization does not have FIRST® Tech Challenge team, you may want to work with a teacher or administer to help form a team within the school.